Top 5 Joomla Extensions for E-Commerce

Just a brief note, this article was written with a focus on e-commerce, and my top 5 list would likely change without that focus. Without much ado, here are my top 5 extensions for Joomla for e-commerce:

1. MijoSEF

We all know that without SEO, it is difficult to make a presence online. The one thing I have always disliked about Joomla is that URL-management always seemed so complicated and, quite frankly, annoying. Enter MijoSEF. Managing URLs and metadata has never been so easy in Joomla. Know exactly what is being considered as duplicate content, what path is being taken to generate each URL, and have total control over each component (some for an extra cost). This component has truly helped me understand my website better and cut down the time required to maintain it.

From the ability to Quick Edit multiple URLs at once without having to reload the page for each URL, to the top notch customer service that is always provided by MijoSoft, this component deserved nothing but the top spot on my favorite extensions list.

2. MijoShop / HikaShop

I simply could not decide which to choose for the #2 spot on my list, so I decided that they both deserve the title. Hey, don’t be jealous.

For those who don’t know, the difference between MijoShop and HikaShop is that HikaShop was written natively for Joomla and, according to the developer, will only be available for Joomla. MijoShop is an extension that integrates Joomla with the popular open-source shopping cart OpenCart. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of extensions. You can read my review for MijoShop here. A HikaShop review will be made soon.

3. RSFirewall!

RSFirewall! is one of my favorite components for Joomla, because it makes having a tight hold on security so simple. Admittedy, RSFirewall! has conflicted with other components on my website, but did not result in any major issues that could not be resolved quickly. RSFirewall! should be an essential for any internet-based entrepreneur that takes their online store seriously. Security should always be a very high priority, and does not always have to be expensive.

4. AcyMailing

Coming in at the #4 spot on my list of top Joomla e-commerce extensions is Acyba AcyMailing. Email marketing has been, and continues to be, one of the top ways to reach your customers and effectively convert leads.

The features that come with AcyMailing depend highly on the model you choose. The model I have been using for the past few months is the Business model. All I can say is, “Wow!” It integrates seamlessly with HikaShop, and if you purchase the Enterprise edition you can even send automated newsletters to your customers according to certain dates, such as relative to when they registered on your site. With the model I am using, the Business edition, it is possible to schedule a newsletter to be distributed on a future date, but not automatically based on each individual customer’s registration date, for instance. Still, an incredible feature for a well-priced component. To me, this is an absolute essential for e-commerce.

Unfortunately, there is no plugin available at the moment for MijoShop, but there is one for HikaShop, which could make it a make-or-break deal for you. If you are using MijoShop, you can still opt to use AcyMailing separately for regular marketing newsletters.

Acyba is a great company that develops quality products, and offers incredible service to its customers.

5. GTranslate Enterprise

With a growing demand for globally-aware online stores, GTranslate Enterprise’s cloud-based translating system can help catapult your business’ success on the web. What I like most about GTranslate Enterprise is that you can have top-level country domain names for your website (such as curiousdevelopers.es, etc.), which can help you rank better on international search engines.

Although customer service for GTranslate could be improved, the extension itself is relatively simple to manage and easy to set up. Also, if you’re on a budget, there is also a free version called GTranslate Free, which translates your website on the fly and is not cloud-based. I have yet to try it, but hear excellent things about it. To me, the $18/month I pay for GTranslate Enterprise is so well-spent I have never felt the need to!

Good luck!

What are you top 5 extensions for Joomla for e-commerce, and why? Post them in the comments section below.

Using WordPress for E-Commerce

As most of you know, the Curious Developers website was created using the lovely and popular content management system, WordPress. I have been a huge fan of WordPress for a very, very long time, and my loyalty to it continues to grow with time. That being said, I’ve had to raise an eyebrow or two to clients who have asked me about using it as a shopping cart. I can understand why people love WordPress — it is very user-friendly, clean, and its popularity has allowed it to create a large community who contribute to its development. Still, I can’t help but shy away from using it for clients looking to open an online store, let alone for my own e-commerce needs. My reasoning for this is simple, WordPress was simply not designed to be a shopping cart.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform and has slowly but surely evolved over time into a full-blown CMS, or content management system. It is incredibly powerful for managing content, and security has tightened a great deal over the past few years. I highly recommend it if you are planning on starting a blog for affiliate marketing or personal purposes. In fact, I even recommend it for accompanying your online shopping cart, because we all know how rewarding a well-maintained blog can be in terms of SEO. However, using WordPress to completely replace an actual shopping cart isn’t a good idea if you are planning on developing and improving the customer’s experience on your website in the future.

The large community that actively uses and contributes to WordPress has helped build a huge library of plugins available for the CMS. Still, it isn’t difficult to see that your plugin options for customizability, UIX, or even tasks as simple as assigning tracking labels to products, are limited. That is because WordPress was not designed to replace a shopping cart. This is not to say that it cannot evolve to be more e-commerce-friendly in the future.

So, what shopping cart do I recommend for starting an online store? I either recommend using an open-source shopping cart such as 3DCart Shopping Cart or OpenCart, or using a more versatile CMS such as Joomla or Drupal and installing shopping cart extensions that have been developed natively for them. If you find that either of those options are too complicated for your needs, then I recommend using AmeriCommerce or Shopify.

Please subscribe to my blog for more CMS and e-commerce related news. As always, I wish you the best of luck in your journey to start an online store!

What are you currently using to run your online store? Would you recommend it to others? Please post in the comments section below.

MijoShop Review

MijoShop is an component that integrates Joomla with OpenCart, the open-source shopping cart. I’ve been using it for about two months and I have nothing but good things to say about it. You can read additional reviews for it here.

The Good

  • Superior customer service. The customer service provided by Mijosoft has been nothing short of phenomenal. I get responses within just a few hours most of the time, which is quite impressive considering the fact that the developers are almost halfway across the planet from me. Not only is the service timely, but the team is not afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever it takes to help you solve whatever issue you may be having.
  • Well-maintained. MijoShop uses the most current version of OpenCart and is updated quite often.
  • All the benefits of using OpenCart. MijoShop is compatible with most of the extensions (there are thousands) that are made for OpenCart, which can be accessed here.
  • Seamless integration with MijoSEF; great for the SEO-conscious. This bonus should be obvious, but seeing that MijoSEF is my ultimate favorite URL-manager for Joomla, seamless integration with it was absolutely essential for me. It’s as easy as typing in the URL you want for the product, which shouldn’t change regardless of where the product is accessed from on your site. This is especially important for SEO because it prevents search engines from thinking that you are duplicating content (accessing the same content via different URLs).

It was difficult for me to find any downsides to using MijoShop, but I rarely write reviews without digging deep to find some cons that may be important to some of my readers.

The Bad

  • Many of the best and most useful OpenCart extensions are not free. For instance, I wanted an Ajax filter for an online store, and I had to purchase the extension from an independent developer here.
  • The integration doesn’t “feel” seamless. The administrator dashboard can be renovated a bit to provide more of a seamless feel, but instead just feels like I am accessing OpenCart via an I-Frame within Joomla. Please note, this does not mean that the component itself does not integrate the two well, it is more of an aesthetic disadvantage.

Simply stated, MijoShop is a very powerful component that allows you to take advantage of two incredible open-source applications. If you are considering spending money on a quality shopping cart that is compatible with the all-too-powerful CMS that is Joomla, I would not look further than MijoShop.

Note: I was not paid to write this review. I would never recommend a product or service that I would not myself. Please subscribe to my blog to read my other reviews.